Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Sparrow at Starbucks

Another great email that was shared with me today! =)


The song that silenced the cappuccino machine

It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st
Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square . Early November
weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill
of late December and January, but it's enough to send the masses crowding
indoors to vie for available space and warmth. For a musician, it's the
most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I'm told, and consequently,
the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right.
Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that night, because our
basket was almost overflowing. It was a fun, low-pressure gig - I was
playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with
an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the '40s
to the '90s with a few original tunes thrown in. During our emotional
rendition of the classic, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," I noticed a lady
sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the
beat and singing along.

After the tune was over, she approached me. "I apologize for singing along
on that song. Did it bother you?" she asked.
"No," I replied. "We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to
sing up front on the next selection?"
To my delight, she accepted my invitation.
"You choose," I said. "What are you in the mood to sing?"
 ... do you know any hymns?"
Hymns? This woman didn't know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on
hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest
singer a knowing look. "Name one."
"Oh, I don't know. There are so many good ones. You pick one."
"Okay," I replied. "How about 'His Eye is on the Sparrow'?"
My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine
again and said, "Yeah.. Let's do that one."
She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and
faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to sing.

Why should I be discouraged?

Why should the shadows come?

The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of
the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing
to listen. The song rose to its conclusion.

I sing because I'm happy;

I sing because I'm free.

For His eye is on the sparrow

And I know He watches me.

When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar
that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall.
Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, "Oh, y'all go back to
your coffee! I didn't come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to
get somethin' to drink, just like you!"
But the ovation continued.. I embraced my new friend.
"You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!"
"Well, it's funny that you picked that particular hymn," she said.
"Why is that?"
"Well ..." she hesitated again, "that was my daughter's favorite song."
"Really!" I exclaimed.
"Yes," she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had
subsided and it was business as usual.. "She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week."
I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence. "Are
you going to be okay?" She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my
hands. "I'm gonna be okay. I've just got to keep trusting the Lord and
singing His songs, and everything's gonna be just fine." She picked up her
bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.

Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that particular day that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it.

God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of
time, and it's no stretch for me to imagine that he could reach into a
coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It
was a great reminder that if we keep trusting him and singing his songs,
everything's gonna be okay.

The next time you feel like GOD can't use YOU, just remember...

No more excuses now!!

God can use you to your full potential. Besides you aren't the message, you
are just the messenger. God bless.

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